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Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan: Nomenclature games can lead to sharp change of political situation in Armenia

31.07.2016  |  In the World   |  Piotr Kuchta,  EuroBelarus
Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan: Nomenclature games can lead to sharp change of political situation in Armenia

The confrontation of several forces in Yerevan is a no-win, and tends to worsen, the head of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, the publicist Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan says.

Let us recall that in the morning of July 17, the group of armed men or Sasna Tsrer, which includes supporters of the arrested leader of the radical opposition New Armenia Public Salvation Front Jirair Sefilian, seized the building of the Patrol-Guard Service Regiment in Erebuni district of Yerevan and held hostages for some days. During the attack Deputy police chief Artur Vanoyan was killed; several policemen and one of the attackers with various injuries were hospitalized. Sasna Tsrer demands the release of political prisoners and the resignation of the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

In the first official reports, the participants of Sasna Tsrer were referred to as terrorists, then – as an armed group. Every evening there are protests in Yerevan.

Earlier, in the interview with the “EuroBelarus” Information Service Hovsep Khurshudyan, the member of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum noted that generally, the Armenian society considers the actions of Sasna Tsrer to be the realization of the right to revolt, if "all the other ways are exhausted and it is impossible to protect their own rights in the country otherwise".

Today, the situation in Yerevan (during which time ultimatums were put forward to the group, a skirmish took place, the group captured a team of doctors, police has been detaining civil society activists, during street protests the beginning of national uprising has been declared), the correspondent of the “EuroBelarus” Information Service talks with the head of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, the publicist Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan.

It is noteworthy that, according to Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan, the authorities give no assessment of what is happening at all "to show that everything is shallow, that it’s not a serious scale event." The decisive factor of the situation development, the experts say, was the terminology used by the nomenclature: "whether they will use the term "terrorists", but they refused to use such definition and currently say "an armed group", which is a very interesting phenomenon, since we see the consensus between the society and the nomenclature, i.e. violence is understood and accepted by everyone; it is accepted that this is not terrorism but reactive actions generated by the preceding instances of non-physical, structural violence, namely: lack of fair elections, the huge gap between the nomenclature and people, enormous poverty, unemployment and migration, the absolute power of the authorities and lawlessness of the oligarchy, dysfunctional state structures, people’s fear that the authorities could give away Karabakh lands without discussing it with the society and so on. It is the alienation of the authorities from people that became the reason of the physical violence", - Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan said.

The political analyst notes that the society understands the actions of Sasna Tsrer, if not supports them. "We must understand that there is no one in Armenia who has not been affected by the Karabakh conflict, and each person is somehow connected to its members - whether they are the professional militaries, or the so-called fedayi (the armed volunteers). However, a large part of the society disagrees with physical violence as a method of solving problems, but still understands the cause-effect relation between structural violence in Armenia, which resulted in physical violence on July 17,"- said Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan.

At the same time, as noted by the interlocutor, we shouldn’t mix Sasna Tsrer and participants of everyday protests on the streets of Yerevan. "In fact, the situation is very complicated. Sasna Tsrer and those who are involved in street protests are two different actors, even though enormously interrelated. There is a hypothesis that this situation sometimes helps the nomenclature to solve some issues. But if the nomenclature chooses the active violent phase, it could quickly change the situation. Such "solution" could lead to the loss of an advantage in negotiations with Russia and the West, and with Azerbaijan, which now consists in saying that Armenia has a difficult situation and we cannot compromise. Therefore, the nomenclature is now on a very slippery road, trying to keep the situation like that for as long as possible. But it’s very hard for it to maintain a balance of power, as the nomenclature itself continually violates the rules of the game. For example, say, during the truce, when there was an exchange of wounded, the commandant officers opened fire, wounding two of the armed group. Nomenclature showed that it’s not unable to negotiate. All this leads to the extension of the confrontation", - Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan said.

"Another objective of the nomenclature is to sideline all national leaders. As soon as somebody new comes out with something really meaningful (s)he is taken, and nomenclature agents, both secret and open, start a campaign to discredit them in the public space. It has happened to Levon Barseghyan, a journalist and public figure; Arsinée Khanjian, a Canadian actress of Armenian origin”, Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan said.

The expert is convinced that "the situation is already a stalemate and gets worse every day." "This is playing with fire. At the moment the part of Yerevan’s territory is not protected by the nomenclature. This is - the hole in the state system, which could increase with new pockets of violence appearing. This complex situation should be a lesson for other neighbouring countries. People, who entered the garrison, said that it’s impossible to live like that. But it can lead to the collapse of everything – and nomenclature, basically, does nothing to prevent this, - said Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan. - People shouldn’t necessarily support Sasna Tsrer, but they can go to protests to save their lives. And if their amount reaches a certain point, then we are coming to a match point, and nomenclature has to leave. I cannot exclude the variant of a very sharp change in the political situation in Armenia."

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